SCUTTLEBUTT 3657 - Friday, August 17, 2012
Scuttlebutt is published each weekday with the support of its sponsors,
providing a digest of major sailing news, commentary, opinions, features
and dock talk . . . with a North American focus.
Today's sponsors: Team One Newport and Soft Deck.
A NEW PHILOSOPHY IS NEEDED
Ben Barger, who was the U.S. windsurfing representative at the 2008
Olympics, is now focused on supporting all Olympic sailors. He is the ISAF
Athletes Commission Chairman, and also an alternate to the USOC Athletes
Advisory Council. Here Ben shares his view on some problems within the US
There have been two philosophical bullet points that have guided the US
- Development of sailors, not specialists. Olympic events change, and while
investing funds to specialize in an event would appear wise, it is a gamble
the team cannot afford to make.
- Funding is performance based. Sailors must invest in themselves before
the team can invest in them.
However, both these points have adversely affected the team. Let me
The United States is among the most influential countries when it comes to
the choice of events at the Olympics. When the multihull was eliminated for
the 2012 Olympics, and windsurfing was eliminated for the 2016 Olympics,
the U.S. was a leader in making those changes. Not only has these changes
cost US Sailing the support of sailors in those classes, but changing
events to better suit the perceived U.S. strength is also a gamble. Rather
than gambling on change, the U.S. should focus on making a long term
investment in the events and its athletes.
I agree that the general U.S. policy for athlete funding should always be
performance based. However, no funding, as was the case with the
windsurfing event, is not ever the right amount. There should be a minimum
that each event gets to sustain the basic needs of campaigning, whether
that event is at a development stage, has future medal hopes, or is an
immediate medal prospect. The U.S. has made a system based on this quad
medal hopes only and treated everyone else like a distraction.
The running costs for a medalist program from my experience with other
federations is around 500K per class per year and that's not just going to
one team but a large team of national competing members. We should have won
at least three medals with the US Sailing Team budget ($4 million), but
instead we bought coach boats, supported 10 staff members full time and
funded a few people in a few classes. We got unlucky in those few classes
The U.S. coaches and staff are paid significantly more what than their
European counterparts, in some cases twice as much. Some people think they
deserved it, but I believe more money needs to get to the sailors. Only 16%
of total US Sailing Team money actually gets to athletes pockets. A crying
THIS IS SO AUSTRALIAN
Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who dominated the Men's Skiff (49er)
event at the 2012 Olympics, revealed some of the factors behind the
stunning success of the Australian sailing team.
One of the factors behind the sailing team's success, Nathan believes, was
having a social headquarters at a local Weymouth pub for the sailors and
their supporters to get together at the end of each day.
The pub was decorated in green and gold, was showing the sailing coverage
and displaying the medal tally, and once the sailors started winning it was
the centre of a media frenzy.
"It was just an incredible atmosphere and it was half the reason why I
think the team did so well, is that everyone was there having fun," Nathan
says. -- Full report:
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SAILING ISN'T A SPORT
Nicholas Hayes, author
Look it up. According to my dictionary, a sport is "an activity involving
physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against
another or others for entertainment." And while many sailors I know will
say that they enjoy racing sailboats, sailing is so much more than just a
When was the last time you saw tennis played in a pelting, thundering rain
squall? Sailors do it all the time.
When was the last time a basketball player studied emergency and rescue
procedures to keep fellow teammates safe and secure?
When was the last time you saw soccer players standing by quietly for hours
and sometimes days, waiting for Mother Nature to join the game?
When was the last time you saw a hockey player invite grandma onto the ice?
When was the last time you saw a quarterback use a star to navigate, the
moon to light the field, or pause to gaze upon the aurora borealis during a
When was the last time you saw a sprinter stay on the field for hours and
hours after the race just to be on the field?
And when was the last time you heard any of these sportspeople say that
they would sail to the very end? Sailors do it all the time.
No, sailing isn't a sport. Sport should be so lucky.
SPEARHEADING A NEW PERFORMANCE CATAMARAN CLASS
When it comes to offering cutting edge grand prix racing, the Rolex Big
Boat Series in San Francisco never seems to skip a beat. This year, the
event - scheduled for its 48th edition on September 6-9 - will be adding
performance catamarans to the already dense roster of monohulls sailing in
IRC and one-design classes. Adding catamarans was inspired by the America's
Cup sailing that has been taking place on San Francisco Bay, and, in fact,
the Rolex Big Boat Series will follow an America's Cup World Series event
in August and precede another in October.
"The Rolex Big Boat Series is one of the premier events in the world, and
having catamarans included in it for the first time is very exciting for
us, especially in light of the interest in performance catamaran racing
generated by the upcoming America's Cup World Series events in San
Francisco," said St. Francis Yacht Club Commodore Peter Stoneberg, who will
be racing in the event aboard his ProSail 40 catamaran Shadow. "I love
catamarans. You just can't beat the thrill and adrenaline of racing them on
San Francisco Bay, and this year's Rolex Big Boat Series will be the first
premier class regatta that includes a catamaran division."
According to Staff Commodore of the Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA)
Bob Naber, "The class will enjoy exciting racing, provide viewers with a
fantastic experience and show a breed of catamarans that are available to
sailors outside of the America's Cup." The class will include performance
catamarans over 35 feet, with no limitations on technology and design. They
will be scored using handicap PHRF ratings issued by BAMA and race on
courses similar to those used for America's Cup racing. -- Read on:
* Kingston, ONT (August 16, 2012) - CORK International Regatta completed
today for the 281 youth entrants from Canada, USA, Mexico, and Bermuda
competing in four events. Winners were Alexander Burke (Laser), Kalin
Hillier (Laser Radial), Charlotte Leclue (Laser 4.7), and Allie Surrette/
Ali ten Hove (Club 420). Racing continues for Olympic and elite development
classes (Aug. 18-22), and will include North American Championships for the
29er, 49er, and Finn. Details here:
* Cascade Locks, OR (August 16, 2012) - No changes at the top after the
second day at US Sailing's 2012 Youth Championships on the Columbia River
Gorge. All fleets are now discarding a drop race, with leaders continuing
as Mitchell Kiss (Laser Radial), Greg Martinez (Laser), Scott Buckstaff/
James Moody (29er), and Max Simmons/ Riley Legault (Club 420). Racing
continues through Saturday. Event website:
* By the end of the month, ORACLE TEAM USA expects to have tested and
launched the first of its two AC72 wingsail catamarans planned for the
defense of the 2013 America's Cup. Weather conditions will set the agenda
for the week Aug. 27. Day 1 will see boat in the water for structural
load-testing and systems checks on design features. If all signed-off by
the engineers and boatbuilders, Day 2 will be the yacht's first scheduled
sail on San Francisco Bay. It will become the first AC72 to sail on the
waters of the host city. -- Full report: http://tinyurl.com/O-T-USA-081612
* With fewer than 13 months remaining to the start of the 2013 America's
Cup Finals, the event has launched a new website to better suit the needs
of the teams and fans. Details here:
* The ISAF World Sailing Rankings has released their latest Olympic fleet
racing update (Aug. 15) which now includes the results from the 2012
Olympic Games. The rankings, which accounts for a sailor's performance over
24 months, finds the top ranked sailor as also a medalist in 8 of the 9
events. -- Full report: http://www.sailing.org/news/32060.php
* Newport, RI (August 16, 2012) - The historic Ida Lewis Yacht Club was a
beehive of activity today as competitors readied for the eighth edition of
the Ida Lewis Distance Race (ILDR) which is set to get underway at 1:00
p.m. on Friday, August 17. Three starts will dispatch approximately 26
boats ranging from 30-56' on courses between 104 and 177 nm. In its third
year, the Youth Challenge has attracted four boats which have met the
requirement that more than 40% of the crew must have reached their 14th
birthday but not turn 20 prior to August 17, 2012. -- Race website:
* The St. Thomas Yacht Club's International Rolex Regatta is scheduled one
week earlier in 2013 (March 22-24) to accommodate holistic shifts on the
Caribbean regatta calendar that have been planned jointly by various event
organizers to give sailors a better flow to their Spring racing vacations
in the Islands. Also, the 40th Anniversary of the event finds the Melges 32
class has made the event a destination for its new three-event Caribbean
series in 2013. -- Full report:
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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Some of the random photos from the sport received this week at Scuttlebutt
include aerial arrival, dragons, 2000, kid stuff, back flip, all terrain, 5
o'clock somewhere, and cruising speed. Here are this week's photos:
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS: If you have images to share for the Photos of the
Week, send them to the Scuttlebutt editor:
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This week's video is a parody titled "I'm Bringing Sailing Back", a sort-of
music video that uses Justin Timberlake's song 'Sexy Back'. The dialogue
begins like this....
First dude - "Dude, this is so chill."
Second dude - "Yeah."
First dude - "I love sailing."
Second dude - "Too bad it's not more popular, you know?"
First dude - "But I'm thinking about bringing sailing back."
Second dude - "Sick, man."
First dude - "Yeah."
You have been warned. Click here for this week's video:
* This week on America's Cup Discovered, we look at each team competing in
the America's Cup World Series San Francisco next week August 21-26. This
program includes phenomenal footage of racing over the past year, including
team highlights as we look ahead to San Francisco Bay becoming the world's
battleground in just a few days time. Tune in on Saturday August 18 at
approx 0800 PDT 1600 BST: http://www.youtube.com/americascup
* Olympic Sailing Gold in England is in the August 17 "World on Water"
Global Boating News Report. Laser, 49ers, 470 Men and the fabulous Women's
Match Racing from Weymouth, England, the Farr 30 World Championships in
Sweden, the Kite Slalom Europeans in Italy, the beautiful yachts in the
recent Panarai British Classic Week and we pay tribute to UIM Class ONE
driver William Nocker who tragically lost his life in Race One of the
recent Gabon Grand Prix. See it on http://www.boatson.tv or download the
"boatsontv" app and watch it on your phone/tablet anywhere anytime.
SEND US YOUR VIDEOS: If you have clips to share for the Video of the Week,
send them to the Scuttlebutt editor: mailto:email@example.com
Scuttlebutt strongly encourages feedback from the Scuttlebutt community.
Either submit comments by email or post them on the Forum. Submitted
comments chosen to be published in the newsletter may be limited to 250
words. Authors may have one published submission per subject, and should
save their bashing and personal attacks for elsewhere.
* From Roger Vaughan:
In Butt 3656, I saw the Editor's Note that spoke of Red Bull's outer limits
approach to extremism in sport, concluding in how Red Bull was likely "not
concerned if disaster were to fling the crew through their wing
branding...like this" and there was a link. So I clicked on it to find that
capsize of the AC45 in the shadow of the Golden Gate on a 20+-knot day.
Then I looked and realized I was the 1,923,615th person to watch this
capsize that featured a crewman being flung (as promised) through the wing.
We really are a bloodthirsty lot.
* From Brooks Magruder, Singapore:
Regarding the U.S. "Failure to Perform" in Olympics sailing (Scuttlebutt
3656), instead of reviewing and analyzing what USA did to prepare, it would
seem more productive to look primarily at what all the medalist countries
did to prepare.
* From Matthew Fortune Reid:
Simply said, I am proud of our U.S. Olympic sailors and, athletes in
general. To participate is a huge win in itself. Not to medal may cause
disgruntlement amongst those of us who were on the sidelines watching, but
really, isn't it obvious how hard these sailors worked and sacrificed for
years to get the chance to complete in this venue?
As it has been pointed out, Great Britain and other well-funded countries
were there on the podium. If you really want to see a difference and make a
difference, donate to the cause. Otherwise, quit moaning and groaning, if
you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Again, well done, all of you!
* From Barrie Harmsworth, Dubai, U.A.E.:
Back when Paul Henderson was President in 2002, the IOC reduced the number
of sailing events and athletes because of the "costs and complexity of the
sailing competition". The President of the IOC warned that Olympic Summer
sports would be reviewed with the intention of removing one sport and
replacing it with another every four years. In the Olympic Commission
report given to the ISAF Executive, the principle of "universality" and
qualification through Continental representation was emphasized.
There is a misconception that the ISAF Executive Council - the decision
making body - is democratic and these decisions are made on that basis.
Anyone familiar with process would be aware that it is highly biased
towards the vested interests of the most powerful sailing nations to the
extent that the na´ve developing nations scarcely understand what is
The latest decision to replace the windsurfer with the kite board is a
clear demonstration of such actions by Council. Whilst I cannot speak for
all Continents, I can for the Continent of Asia where approximately over
twenty percent of ISAF's membership lies. These MNAs (member nations) have
been left breathless and highly disappointed that their hopes and
aspirations have been crushed... and who can blame them?
For a corporate body that acknowledges that at least 65% of their revenue,
and on top of that, even more comes to their stakeholders (MNAs), from one
client, the IOC, they have a funny way of respecting the desires of that
client. If it was my business I would run for cover.
* From Chip Johns:
Certainly the lack of U.S. medals in Weymouth is a disappointment, but to
blame the fabulous growth of the C420 and CFJ classes in the country as the
problem seems a bit extreme and misguided to me.
Look at the positives of these classes. They have expanded the number of
kids racing double-handed boats in the U.S. dramatically over the past 20
years. Well over 5000 C420s and CFJs have been built during this time vs
20-30 double-handed boats being built per year in the 80s. Many (half?) of
the junior double-handed boats built in the past 20 are used in club or
institutional environments serving multiple kids. This growth allowed the
base of junior sailors to grow significantly over the past 20 years.
Should an Olympic sailor athlete be sailing one of these boats when they
are 16 or 17? Probably not, but if that sailor does not have the hunger to
seek something a bit more challenging at age 16 or 17, then will they have
the hunger for a medal when the time comes? I don't think so.
I wonder how many top level junior sailors get burned out and completely
quit sailing after attending too many national and international events
when they are 12?
What this country needs in its development program is a natural evolution
that feeds as many kids into boats as possible, keeps them there for as
long as possible, and allows the cream to rise and excel to international
levels when they are ready.
COMMENT: To clarify, in Scuttlebutt 3656 I was not faulting the
contributions the C420 and CFJ have made to sailing in the U.S. But I
contend their growth has required a couple realities to be acknowledged.
One, as I said and Chip appears to agree, that elite young sailors need to
seek out boats with greater complexity if they are to continue to improve.
And also, these youth boats expire when young sailors grow older. The
sooner a young sailor moves to a type of sailing that will exist beyond
their youth years, I contend the more likely they are to remain active in
the sport. Anyone want to comment on that? - Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
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